Next year is going to be a huge year for comic book movies, but it also has the potential to be a watershed moment for video game adaptations as well. 2016 will see the releases of Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft, both of which will be looking to break through and end the infamous video game movie curse.
Though video games are an extremely popular medium, they have not translated well to the big screen. Just this year, the Hitman reboot Agent 47 continued that trend after it was panned by critics and made just $82.2 million at the worldwide box office. Many are hopeful that next year’s batch of video game-based films will bring newfound credibility to the genre, and Warcraft director Duncan Jones is confident that they can.
Speaking with EW, Jones shared his thoughts on why he believes Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed can be the movies gamers have long waited for:
“There are a couple of things. One thing I would say is that that stigma used to be attached to comic book movies too. It took a generation of filmmakers who loved and were raised on comic books to make movies that you actually cared about and felt something for. I think that’s absolutely the same with what’s going on with video game movies. I am absolutely of the video games generation, starting on the Atari and Commodore 64 and the Amiga. I’m a gamer at heart and always have been. I’m also a filmmaker. I think my sensibilities about storytelling and character just automatically come into play when I’m trying to work on any kind of narrative. For me, it doesn’t really matter what the source of the narrative is. I will be looking for ways to make it into an intriguing story with empathetic characters.”
Marvel Studios has shown that it’s possible to take obscure source material and turn it into cinematic gold when it’s handled properly (Guardians of the Galaxy), so something as popular as Warcraft could easily become a hit film if it receives strong word-of-mouth. As Jones indicates, the key is crafting a story that connects with viewers and makes them feel something. If the person behind the camera is passionate and enthusiastic about what they’re doing, there’s a greater chance they can pull that off and give viewers a memorable experience.
Jones is right in saying that once upon a time, comic book movies were deemed a risk by studios. Once directors like Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi combined their filmmaking sensibilities with love for superheroes, things changed very quickly. Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed have both acquired in-demand, acclaimed talent (Jones, Michael Fassbender, etc.), so things definitely look more optimistic for those films when compared to the typical video game movie fare. That could go a long way in helping these projects earn a rightful spot in a crowded Hollywood tentpole landscape.
The general public will get their first real taste of what to expect when the first Warcraft trailer is released on November 6 (tomorrow, as of this writing) in conjunction with BlizzCon 2015. The trailer tease illustrated that Jones succeeded in translating the look and feel of the Warcraft games to a cinematic fantasy epic. Should the narrative be as impressive as the stunning visuals, the Warcraft film could usher in a new era for the movie industry.
Next: Warcraft Poster Unveiled
Warcraft will open in theaters June 10, 2016.